[What follows is an item originally posted on this blog on this date in 2010:]
We should stop distracting ourselves from finding out the real truth about Lockerbie
[This is the heading over three letters in today's edition of The Herald. They read as follows:]
How well Jim Swire’s dignified search for truth contrasts with the bloodthirsty baying of some American politicians. Make no mistake, the central objection to the Megrahi affair in the United States is that he was tried in a justice system where the end result was not a lethal injection; everything else is just an attempt to build on that.
The modus operandi of the Senate inquiry was to reach a conclusion and then look for evidence that might support it, exactly what an American trial of Megrahi would likely have been. For some Scottish politicians to attempt to lend credibility to this circus for some short-term political gain is extremely unedifying and something that they should be ashamed of.
The question should not be whether Megrahi’s family should be able to be with him for his last days but whether he was guilty at all and if so who his accomplices were. To simply accept what now seems to be a rather shaky conviction is one thing, to not bother to ask whether one man could do all of this on his own is quite another. It is no conspiracy theory to point out that atrocities like Lockerbie are carefully planned and executed and not just the work of one rogue security agent. We should stop distracting ourselves from this central question.
Jim Swire has written a moving and passionate letter in which he continues to plead eloquently for some way to be found to re-examine the evidence and the decision of the Camp Zeist trial. After more than 20 years, the tragedy of the PanAm 103 bombing has still not been resolved satisfactorily, and the latest pathetic attempt by a group of ill-informed and prejudiced US senators, with little knowledge or appreciation of the points at issue, will not help.
We in Scotland should be much more concerned about the quality, reliability and fairness of the Scottish justice system. As pointed out by Nigel Dewar Gibb, comments such as those from John Lamont, the Tory MSP shadow spokesman, are unhelpful, as are the constant refusals of the UK government and the Scottish legal authorities to allow further investigation.
I learned my Scots Law, and my pride and confidence in the Scottish justice system, at the feet of Andrew Dewar Gibb, Professor of Scots Law at Glasgow University (coincidentally the father of Nigel Dewar Gibb). If he were alive today I am sure Professor Dewar Gibb would be adding his voice to those demanding a full public inquiry or a re-opening of the second appeal abandoned by Mr Megrahi so abruptly. Nothing less will satisfy those of us who wish justice to be done and seen to be done.
Iain A D Mann
Once again the consistently impressive and humbling Jim Swire hits on the salient point about the Lockerbie atrocity. It is a disgrace that we do not know for certain who carried out this crime, or why. We have been given serious doubts by the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to question the truth surrounding the conviction of Mr Megrahi. The vacuous critical noises from politicians in this country and the US regarding the release of Megrahi are opportunistic political point scoring or, worse, an attempt to create a smoke screen around the real issues of guilt and responsibility.